Abuja, Nigeria: Gunmen who kidnapped 287 schoolchildren say they will kill them all if $622,000 ransom is not paid

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The school in Koririga, pictured on March 8, 2024, where gunmen kidnapped more than 250 students.

Abuja, Nigeria

Armed men kidnapped at least 287 students in Nigeria Last Thursday they demanded a ransom of 1 billion naira ($621,848) and threatened to kill all the students if their demands were not met, a local community member told CNN on Wednesday.

“They called me from a hidden number yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon at about 16:12 and demanded one billion naira ($621,848) as ransom for the students,” they said. [the ultimatum] “The school will only run for three weeks or 20 days from the date they kidnapped the children, and if there is no action from the government, they will kill them all,” said Aminu Jibril, a resident of Korega village, Kaduna state, where the school is located. Located.

The children were kidnapped on March 7.

Jibril also told CNN that the perpetrators said the kidnapping was “a way to take revenge on the government and security services for the killing of their gang members.”

The Kurega community member said he believed the kidnappers got his number from the head of the middle school section of the school, who was kidnapped along with the students.

More than 300 students were kidnapped early Thursday morning by armed bandits on motorcycles who stormed the LEA Primary and Secondary School in Korega village, in Chikun district of Kaduna, state police spokesman Mansur Hassan told CNN on Friday.

Some students were rescued, but 287 of them are still with the kidnappers. About 100 of them are from elementary school and the rest are from high school.

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Kaduna Governor Oba Sani said in a statement on Thursday that his government was “doing everything in its power to ensure the safe return of pupils and students.”

Sani also said that a community member who confronted the kidnappers during the attack was killed.

Kaduna State, which borders the Nigerian capital Abuja to the southwest, faces frequent incidents of kidnapping for ransom by bandits, and has seen several mass kidnappings in recent years, including in the area where LEA Primary and Secondary School is located.

In 2021, gunmen kidnapped at least 140 students from a private high school.

The incident came just months after gunmen kidnapped about 20 students from a private university in Kasarami village in Chikun.

Five of those students were killed after missing a ransom deadline, family members told CNN at the time.

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